I wanted to take a moment to recognize that today is the 45th anniversary of the death of Malcolm X.
Malcolm X is one of my personal heroes and represents the power of spirit necessary to be a revolutionary leader. Throughout his life Malcolm saw every side of the American experience, from poverty and crime, to the sector of public policy, he met with heads of state, traveled the world, opened his mind to new ideas in ways that so many dogmatic leaders refuse to, he wrote and spoke prolifically about the struggles of the black man in America and the fate of the underprivileged worldwide.
When I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X it changed my entire life. I saw an example of a man who was willing to kneel down to pick another man up out of hardships and at the same time show him not just how to stand on his feet and be a man, but how to fight against every single aspect of his environment that brought him to his knees in the first place.
Malcolm X had no respect for any establishment, person, or idea that he viewed as holding him or his people back from freedom. I envy a man who had the power to publicly criticize JFK just days after his assassination, and who even criticized Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To be that honest and that sincere, to stand for ideals no matter what the political or personal cost requires a strength of character that few people have.
Malcolm was the son of a political activist who worked for Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. By the age of 13 Malcolm’s father was killed by white supremacists and his mother was in an asylum. After a life as a young man spent hustling he wound up in prison and there discovered the Nation of Islam and after he was released became the head spokesman for the organization. Through the NOI Malcolm worked for the black community, doing political organizing, working with charities, and speaking. After he left the NOI to become a Sunni Muslim he continued traveling and working for Black Nationalist ideals and spoke extensively against the repression of minorities in America.
I aspire to one day be half the man that Malcolm was.Throughout my entire school career, I was never taught about Malcolm X, it wasn’t until I took it upon myself to read the autobiography and to do some research on my own that I learned about this man. It is sad that even today the establishment still fears the ideas of a man who wanted nothing more than freedom for his people.
Malcolm X represents just one of so many important revolutionary leaders who have been assassinated by agents of the United States Government. Anyone who thinks that you live in a free country where people can speak, organize, and protest unfettered then you are living a lie. The moment you make yourself a threat you make yourself a target.
I urge anyone who doesn’t consider themself a student of history or interested in revolutionary politics to take some time to educate yourself about things that you were probably never taught until you got to college, and maybe not even then. The story of Malcolm X’s life is a powerful and inspiring reminder of what it means to stand for something and give your entire life to it.Rest in Peace brother Malcolm, your message lives on.
Quotations from Malcolm X:
“I’m not an American. I’m one of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million Black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.”
“Did the Zionists have the legal or moral right to invade Arab Palestine, uproot its Arab citizens from their homes and seize all Arab property for themselves just based on the “religious” claim that their forefathers lived there thousands of years ago? Only a thousand years ago the Moors lived in Spain. Would this give the Moors of today the legal and moral right to invade the Iberian Peninsula, drive out its Spanish citizens, and then set up a new Moroccan nation … where Spain used to be, as the European zionists have done to our Arab brothers and sisters in Palestine?”
“…to me the earth’s most explosive and pernicious evil is racism, the inability of God’s creatures to live as One, especially in the Western world.”
“I’ve had enough of someone else’s propaganda. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
“Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”
“Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
“We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”
“I have no mercy or compassion for a society that crushes people, and then penalizes them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”